What the LORD Requires

“Wherewith shall l come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” —Micah 6:6-8

THE DETAILS OF the divine will may vary in their application to us as individuals, yet the basic principles of what God requires of his people are the same for all. In fact, these basic principles have operated in the past; they operate now; and they will continue to operate in the future. What our text says is this: Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God!

We all appreciate that circumstances vary according to the will of God for the particular time. For instance, for anyone to humble himself before God during the Gospel Age has meant, and still means, walking the narrow way of sacrifice and suffering even unto death. This has been God’s will since the death and resurrection of Jesus. But to humble oneself before God during the Millennial Age, will not mean suffering unto death. It will mean walking the highway of life, back to mental, moral, and physical perfection as perfect human beings on a glorified earth. (Isa. 60:13) Nevertheless, all, whether in this age or the next, will have to humble themselves before God. No blessings will accrue to those who do not.

The tendency of the fallen flesh is to lose sight of these fundamental principles. The inclination is to seek ways and means of pleasing God that are less exacting, more pleasing to the flesh. That was true in the days of the prophet when our text was written, and it is still true today. To find an easier way of serving God usually means seizing upon some detail of the divine will and magnifying its importance to the exclusion of other divine requirements. We should always be on guard against such tempting practices.

Some of the results of this fallen tendency of the flesh are alluded to in our text. Says the prophet of God, “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?” Under the arrangements of the Law given to Israel, God was pleased for his people, in certain instances, to offer rams in sacrifice to him. God was pleased for them to use oil in connection with their services and sacrifices. These things were commanded by God in the Law—the Israelites could not have neglected them and at the same time have been wholly pleasing to him.

But rams and oil were not the only things that entered into God’s will for his typical people. Even though a thousand rams were brought, and even though ten thousand rivers of oil were used, these would not give anyone license to ignore or omit the other requirements of God. As God said to his people through the prophet (Mal. 3:10), “Bring ye all,” not some, not most, but “all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.”

The Apostle Peter’s outline of the divine will for Christians is very comprehensive. After exhorting to ‘super-add’ what are sometimes termed, the ‘graces’ of the Spirit, the Apostle tells us that if we do these things we shall not be barren (Margin, ‘idle’) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord, and we shall not fall. (II Pet. 1:4-10) No half-measures are to be tolerated. The apostle’s outline of the divine will includes not only the growth of grace in our hearts, but the outward expression of it in understanding and activity.

The Apostle Peter said we are to add to our faith virtue. Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott uses the word ‘fortitude’. Fortitude is very essential in the Christian life. Without it, we shall be of those who are simply tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Fortitude is strength of character—not our strength, but strength derived from a living faith in God and his Word. We should endeavor to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. This we do by prayer, by study of the Word and by fellowship with the brethren. But let us not make the mistake of thinking we can stand in our own strength. If we do, we shall surely be thrown off our guard, and fall. As the scripture says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”—I Cor. 10:12

Not only have we the need to increase in faith and fortitude, but we are also to increase in knowledge. As Paul puts it in Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” If we are to increase in knowledge, then we must apply the knowledge as we acquire it. Rightly dividing the truth and fidelity to the truth, are primary requisites to our growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.—II Tim. 2:15; II Pet. 3:18

Viewed from this standpoint, we can see that knowledge is fundamentally important to us as Christians. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:14) Again, “We know that we are from God, and that the whole world lies under the evil one.” (I John 5:19, Wilson’s Diaglott) Furthermore, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Rom. 8:28

While the attainment of an accurate knowledge of the truth is of primary importance to a Christian now, the ultimate of his attainment will be the power of Christ’s resurrection to the divine nature. (Phil. 3:10,11) It is through the knowledge of the truth that we are able to keep the requirements of the Lord—to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before him, and thus be found worthy of such a great reward.

Our text says, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee.” The test which the Lord himself applies as to whether we love him or not, is in the knowing and doing of his commandments. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” (John 14:21) We need, therefore, both to know and to do the will of God, In fact, if we do not know the will of God for us, how can we do it?


How does the Lord show us what is good, and what he requires of us? Surely it is through a knowledge of his Word. It follows then, that we cannot know what the Lord requires of us unless we have a knowledge of his will. Hence the Scriptures say that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God—not approved unto this brother or that sister, but approved unto God.

From this standpoint alone can we glory in the knowledge of the divine plan of the ages; not merely because we know it, but because, through it, God has revealed his will to us. As we read in Jeremiah 9:24, “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

Then Peter says that we have need to increase in temperance or as Wilson’s Diaglott renders it, ‘self-control’. We are reminded here of the proverb which says, “Better … [is] he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Prov. 16:32) Self rebels against the divine leadings. It must be brought and kept under control. It is not only a matter of controlling self. One can observe that practice going on in the lives of those not begotten to a living hope. The reason we need to increase in the control of self is that we might bring ourselves more and more into harmony with the divine will.

Peter said we are to increase in patience. So many and varied are the obstacles in the way of a Christian that we need to increase in patience if, as Jesus said, we are to endure to the end. Unless we do increase in patience we shall become weary in well-doing and faint by the wayside. We deal justly with others, perhaps only to receive injustice in return. We manifest love and mercy towards others, but sometimes it is not appreciated; sometimes it is scorned. We consistently walk in God’s way instead of our own way or the ways of others, often to be opposed by those who have the spirit of the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

Yes, we certainly need patience if we are to cheerfully endure, meeting the three requirements of our text. Building on what has gone before, Peter says we are to increase in godliness. The word godliness is translated from a Greek word which means ‘piety’, or ‘reverence’. We should certainly be of those who worship or reverence God in spirit and in truth. How truly pious, how truly reverent was Jesus. He could, and did say, “I do always those things that please him [my Father].” (John 8:29) Without reverence for God and for his Word we could never be sure what God requires of us. Truly did Jesus say, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4) Wherever we are—in the church, in the home, where we work—let us ever maintain our reverence for God and his Christ.

Another increase we have to make is of brotherly kindness. That is to say, we should always have a real lively interest in the welfare of our brethren. After exhorting the Christian to become fully equipped with the God-given armor, Paul then says, “Praying always … for all saints.” (Eph. 6:18) Yes, our interest should be a family one. Not merely for the brethren of the ecclesia to which we belong, but for all the brethren, in this country, and all over the world.

There is a danger of becoming cramped in our spiritual outlook. Says the Apostle in II Corinthians 6:13, “Be ye also enlarged.” While keeping the local viewpoint in mind, let us not become provincial and lose sight of that broader viewpoint which takes in the interest of the Lord’s people and the Lord’s work generally. We want to increase in brotherly kindness toward all. We do not want that narrow, confined, limited, and selfish spirit which says, “Bless me and my wife; my son John and his wife; us four and no more.”

And then, finally, Peter says we are to increase in love, that divine principle of unselfishness. This disinterested, unselfish love enables us to bestow blessings even upon our enemies. If we fail to increase in love, we cannot possibly meet the requirements of our text to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

We would like to emphasize this: when Peter said, “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall,” he did not mean if ye do one or two of them ye shall never fall. To use the illustration of our text—it is futile to come to the Lord merely with ‘rams’ and ‘oil’, even though these be great in quality and quantity. All the Lord’s requirements are important. All the Lord’s requirements should be faithfully met.


This brings us to I Thessalonians 5:17, where the exhortation is to pray without ceasing. One of the outstanding privileges and necessities in the life of a Christian is prayer. But even prayer loses its true value when other features of God’s will and purpose for us are neglected and ignored. It is in prayer that we express our thanksgiving to God. We ask his forgiveness for our transgressions. We ask for strength and guidance in our daily efforts to meet his requirements. When the Scriptures use such phrases as “Pray without ceasing,” and “Be instant in prayer,” it means that we should consistently maintain the spirit of prayer in all our enterprises. Prayer is not a ceremonial rite. It is one of the divine provisions of grace.

Prayer is a means to an end, but not the end itself. Prayer is very precious to the followers of the Master. Often it has been said that prayer is the vital breath of the New Creature. But we should not engage in prayer to the exclusion or neglect of anything else. It is certainly a privilege and a necessity to come before the Lord with a liberal supply of the oil of prayer, but if we lose sight of the real objective, even ‘ten thousand rivers’ of such ‘oil’ will not enable us to meet that which Jehovah requires of us.


We are admonished to lay down our lives for the brethren. (I John 3:16) This sacrificial service is prompted by love. It means that the requirement of lovingkindness is being worked out in our lives to some extent. Let us be on guard against having too restricted a view of who constitutes our brethren. Do not let us restrict our outlook merely to those with whom we are personally acquainted. Do not let us think that we have fulfilled our obligations when we have done what we can for their spiritual and material welfare.

Sometimes brethren with whom we are not personally acquainted need our help. This was true in the Early Church. Paul visited both the Jewish and the Gentile brethren, building them all up in the most holy faith. Let our interest be for all the brethren. Let us be prepared to disregard our own personal and local preferences if by so doing the general interests of the Lord’s people and work are best served, not only in this country but everywhere.

Richly blessed are those who make self-sacrificing efforts to help the brethren. Truly this also is a part of that which Jehovah requires of us. But it, too, is only a part and must not be so magnified and emphasized as to smother other requirements of Jehovah. We do need to exercise the spirit of a sound mind in all these things.


Another important essential of God’s will is given in II Timothy 4:2, where Timothy was told to preach the Word. Faithfulness in all the requirements of the Lord means that we will be doing what we can, both as individuals and as ecclesia’s, in the work of spreading the truth as a witness to our God and for the good of those who will accept it and make it their own.

Evidence of life is activity. Activity in the service of the truth should result from our own filling of the truth and its Spirit. We do not engage in any service of the truth with the thought that by such faithfulness we can earn our way into the kingdom. It is by grace we are saved. (Eph. 2:4,5,8) It is by grace we will have a place in the kingdom. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” said Jesus. (Luke 12:32) It will not be by works alone. But God wants us to appreciate his grace. He wants us to appreciate it so much as to be willing to spend and be spent in the telling of it to others. As the poet expressed it in one of our hymns, “Low in the dust I’d lay me that the world my Savior might see.”

We often refer to the economy of God. In the economy of God it has been so graciously arranged that the overflow of appreciation from the hearts of his consecrated people can be utilized by him for the preaching to, and blessing of, others. Thus we can lay down our lives for the brethren. Thus we can bear witness to the truth. We can do these things with the assurance that our labor will not be vain in the Lord. We can rejoice because we know that it is God’s will for us, and that, in so doing, we are walking humbly with him.


Another detail of the Lord’s requirements for his people is found in Jude 3, where we are told to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. The exercise of this privilege has a very direct bearing upon our success in doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. If we appreciate the wonderful light of truth as we should, we will gladly and earnestly contend for it. We will guard it as a very precious treasure in our own hearts. We will do all in our power to help others of our brethren do the same. If we are inclined to take the view that it really does not matter what we believe, then such an attitude should be regarded as a danger signal.

Failure earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints may, once again, be caused by specializing along some line, or lines, in what the Lord requires. Perhaps the conclusion has been reached that prayer and brotherly kindness are the only essentials of Christian experience, that it does not really matter what we believe, or what others believe. Human reasoning might dictate that such an attitude is tolerant, but it sometimes arises because faith has been lost in one or more doctrines of truth which we come to regard as non-essential, or as no longer applicable. The Scriptures clearly teach that we are sanctified by the truth—that we should earnestly contend for the truth by which we are sanctified; that the truth should be kept clean and pure and bright.

To do justly means to obey the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you. This is a high standard. We want to keep it in mind in our dealings with others. We are to love mercy, that great principle of unselfishness which is the basis of all God’s works and ways. Says the Psalmist David, “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear [reverence] him.” (Ps. 103:17) Blessed, indeed, are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matt. 5:7) Very little, if any, progress can be made without the quality of God-like mercy.

Even though we do justly and love mercy we will be coming short of what God requires of us unless we walk humbly with him. This has been, and still is, very costly. It means the sacrifice of our little all upon the altar of God’s will. He wants us to bring to that altar our rams and our oil—not thousands of rams, not ten thousands of rivers of oil—just the amount he asks for; just the kind he asks for; yes, and all the kinds he asks for. We have been shown in the Scriptures what is good, and what Divine Justice requires of us. It is for us to live prayerfully and zealously day by day, keeping these requirements in mind, and endeavoring to live up to them.

Let us continue to rejoice in the knowledge of the truth. Let us do all in our power to show our appreciation to God for the fact that he has taken us into his confidence. God has revealed to us his gracious plan of salvation. We can know nothing about God’s plan except as he reveals it to us through his Word. As we, the consecrated children of God, are .able to view all matters from the divine standpoint, our lives will be blessed even in the midst of earth’s lamentations.

True, we do long to see the end of suffering, dying, and death. But let us realize that our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus are much more interested in the human family than we are. His wisdom knows best just how fast the divine plan of the ages should progress. Like the skilled surgeon who cuts deeply in order to heal, so the Lord in his great abounding love and vastly superior wisdom knows exactly what is best for each individual in order that their everlasting blessing may be assured.

Let us be assured that God will help us day by day, each and every day. He helped his saints in ages past, and we can witness that his love is still the same. He will help us through the blessed assurance of his Word.

He will help us through fellowship with those who are truly his. He will help us in his providential overruling of all our affairs. He will help us in permitting those experiences which, if rightly received and endured, will make us vessels fit for the Master’s use, now and in the future.

Do we think sufficiently of what the truth has really done for us? Do we think sufficiently of the condition of mind we would be in today if we did not have the truth? Do we think of what it cost our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus to bring us into the grace wherein we now stand?

Politicians tell us that the whole scene is dark, anxious, and confused. Brethren, how blessed it is in this time of world darkness, anxiety, and confusion to have a theme of life that lifts us above the trouble; that keeps us rejoicing in the blessings that are ahead!

Our whole course in life should be governed by our knowledge that the present evil order of things is soon to give place to the new order of things—that order of the restitution of all things.—Acts 3:19-21

Let us all, more earnestly than ever before, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matt. 6:33) More earnestly than ever before, let us “touch lightly the things of this earth, esteeming them only of trifling worth,” or of no worth at all to us, the called according to his purpose.

As Christians, we must continue to be guided at all times by the Word of God. Let us the more earnestly resolve that we will zealously do all we can to lay down our lives for the brethren, to comfort and cheer others by bearing witness to the glorious Messianic Kingdom, so near at hand. While doing so, let us keep in mind that which Jehovah requires of us: “To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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